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Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves.

Symptoms of botulism usually start with weakness of the muscles that control the eyes, face, mouth, and throat. This weakness may spread to the neck, arms, torso, and legs. Botulism also can weaken the muscles involved in breathing, which can lead to difficulty breathing and even death.

If you or someone you know has symptoms of botulism, see your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.

Information for Health Professionals

Three doctors female doctor in foreground

Get in-depth information on botulism and resources for diagnosing and caring for patients with botulism.


Submit a Specimen


CDC offers laboratory confirmation of botulism by testing human specimens and foods.


Information for Home Canners

Canning: Pressure Cooker used for Preserving Homegrown Fruits Vegetables

Home canning is a great way to preserve garden produce and share it with family and friends, but it can be risky – or even deadly – if not done correctly.